Even before the disruption of the global pandemic, organizations were dealing with rapidly-accelerating digital disruption and transformation, resulting in part from automation and technological advances, but also from shifts in business strategy.
To explore this, Aon launched its Digital Readiness Survey, surveying 1,551 people around the world to understand the perception of the participants’ organizations’ abilities to attract, hire, reward, develop and retain digitally-adept and future-ready talent.
As part of this study, Aon looked at team readiness for digital transformation.
Team Readiness for Digital Transformation
We believe that team readiness for organizational digital transformation depends on two abilities. These are:
- Working within a virtual environment.
2. Working flexibly.
However, at the time of our study (early 2020), only 53% believed that their teams were well prepared to work in a virtual environment and most organizations needed to improve how they supported their virtual teams. Worryingly, only 25% of respondents reported that their teams operated flexibly. As one would expect, this varied between sectors. Those in technology and telecoms companies reported a high degree of flexibility of team working, compared to those in the financial services and transportation and logistics companies.
No doubt, since the ‘work from home’ enforcement for many organizations, companies have had to put in place the technology to support virtual team working. However, operating effectively as a virtual team is more than the technology. It requires virtual team leadership and understanding that the skills and behaviors that take teams forward when they work in a dispersed environment are different to those when located in the same building and meeting in-person on a regular basis. It also requires a recognition of different career progression.
The Change to Team Working Continues
Aon research undertaken over the course of 2020 (since remote working became widespread) has found that:
- 84% of organizations are exploring different working models.
- 77% are actively identifying functions and roles to work virtually.
- 59% allow employees to self-select whether to work virtually.
While 12% of knowledge workers want to return to full-time office work, 72% want a hybrid remote-office model moving forward. [Future Forum research of 4,700 knowledge workers] Without a doubt, skill and competency development for a more virtual workplace will be a focus point in 2021.
However, other skills also need a rethink. For example, those skills that will develop the digitally- and future-ready organization and form part of our Digital Readiness Model.
Reskilling the Workforce
To deliver continued success, organizations must invest in training and developing those competencies needed for future business strategies. Skills and competencies can be hired in, but current talent also needs to be deployed effectively to continue to add value. Investing in reskilling, upskilling and developing the existing workforce will make economic and commercial sense.
The key skills and behaviors that your organization needs may already be in place at key points across the company. These create the most value. If you can identify and standardize these, you can start to prepare your workforce for the future by replicating these in others. By layering the digital competencies of curiosity, learnability and agility over your existing framework, you will also gain an understanding of where in the organization people need to become more digitally competent.
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